Kaimana Pine is part-owner (along with his father) of Waianae townís Hale Nalu surf shop; he also serves as board president for the Waianae Community Redevelopment Corporation. Itís a pretty busy life for a twenty-three-year-old.
"A lot of people are just beginning to see all that Waianae has to offer," he says, before pointing out that the traditional rap against the West Sideóthat itís too far from town and only serviced by one roadócould also be seen as one of its biggest assets. "Thereís nowhere else on OĎahu thatís as remote as Waianae and still has a four-lane road leading into it. The North Shore? Only two lanes! Back in the í60s and í70s, there was a lot of organized crime out hereómy dad told me it was pretty wild. But as far as how people see the place today, Iíd say itís getting better. More people are moving out this way, and a lot of people are finding out that, ĎEh, Waianae isnít what it used to be.í"
Meanwhile, over at the Aloha ĎAina Cafe, business has been a little too good lately, if such a thing is possible. At least, itís been busy enough that the four-person staff recently decided to shut the place down for a day to discuss ways to cut down on job stress and streamline service. Sitting in the cozy dining room, Kukui Maunakea-Forth, chef Kaleo "Bumper" Johnson, Chisa Dodge and Leihulu DeSoto take a break to recount the trials of opening a new restaurant with a skeleton staff ... and to discuss the benefits of working close to home.
"For most of my life after college, I Ďworkedí for free," says Kukui, referring to the many community-based initiatives sheís been involved with over the years. "This whole project has given me a jobóIím close to home and Iím working with other Hawaiians. I can hang with my own people, you know?"
"Everything around hereís been about hope," Bumper says with a laugh. "Hoping that we can do this, hoping that the paint job will work, hoping that the coffee machine will work."
"Itís also been blessed," begins Chisa, only to have her sentence finished by Leihulu: "Yeah, weíre blessed to be five minutes away from our houseómy Jeep can handle that!"
More laughter, and then Kukui turns to Bumper and asks what she finds most rewarding about her current job.
"For two months, every day, I used to catch the 5 a.m. bus to get to Pearl City by eight," she replied. "You have all that time to wait, and then you get to work, and then you come back and start all over again.
"Now every morning, when I come out of Haleakala Road [in Nanakuli], Iím turning right instead of left. Iíve got maybe one car behind me, while on the other side of me, itís just zoom zoom zoom zoom: All this traffic headed toward town and Iím not stuck in it; theyíre focused on whether or not theyíre going to hit the car in front of them, and Iím looking up to see that the moonís still in the sky. And Iím just loving it."